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Balancing work and Reserve service.

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Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence

MIN 707/02 4 December 2002


Consultation begins today on a Defence Reserves Support Council discussion paper and draft policy on Defence leave for Commonwealth public sector employees who are members of the Australian Defence Force Reserves.

The Defence Reserves Support Council comprises representatives from industry, small business, trade unions, youth and other interested community groups to provide a link between the Australian Defence Force, employers and community organisations from which the Reserve force is drawn.

Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence Danna Vale said the consultation process would deliver on the Federal Government's commitment to developing a Commonwealth Public Sector Defence Leave Policy to help employers and Reservists better balance civilian and Defence work commitments.

"The discussion paper and draft policy focus on developing uniform leave policies and employment practices to support the release of Reservists for training and deployment, to ensure Reservists are treated consistently across all Commonwealth Government departments, agencies and authorities," Minister Vale said.

"The final policy will provide a blueprint for engaging the States and Territories on a range of uniform measures for their public sector workplaces.

"In the future we will also be looking to work in partnership with business on a separate policy for Reservists employed in the private sector, which takes into account the demands of industry."

Minister Vale said the Federal Government recognised that whilst a large proportion of Reserve service was completed on a Reservist's own time, personnel also required the ongoing support of their employers to complete their service.

"Taking time away from work to complete Reserve service can impact significantly on a workplace," Minister Vale said.

"To help address this the Federal Government has already introduced the Employer Support Payments scheme, which has provided more than $10 million in compensation for employers where a staff member has taken leave as part of their Reserve service obligations.

"The Federal Government's Defence 2000 White Paper articulated a greater role for Reserves to support and sustain contemporary military operations.

"This important consultation process will further deliver on the Howard Government's commitment to enhance the ADF Reserves to enable them to fulfil that vital role."

Media contacts: Minister's Office: Rachael Thompson 02 6277 7820 or 0417 265 289 Defence: Lorraine Mulholland 02 6265 7171 or 0409 774 364